“I may have experienced PTSD, causing memories of that event to be very deeply etched. I can, after 25 years, describe her in fine detail, down to the dress she was wearing and her hair-do. No other patient remains so clear to me.”
Yesterday, the January issue of JAMA was published. I authored a piece entitled What I Learned About Adverse Events From Captain Sully: It’s Not What You Think. Of course, this publication is a proud moment for me, since JAMA is the most widely circulated medical journal in the world. I have been very excited ever since it was accepted, and looking forward to the professional satisfaction of seeing it in print.
Today, I was fully immersed in an intense simulation – 22 anesthesiology residents completing four simulated emergency situations. When I emerged and the end of the day, my email was overflowing with messages from people who had read the piece, and whom I will likely never have the pleasure to meet. These messages shared stories from peoples’ darkest moments – extremely personal anecdotes – and are reflected in the short excerpts included in this post in italics. Thank you, fellow physicians, for sharing your deeply private experiences with a complete stranger like me. I have enormous gratitude for the honor of receiving them, and it is my hope that this article helps to move our profession and our humanism forward.
“When I was an intern in 1969, a relatively young hospitalized woman (30s) died suddenly.The attending was so distraught that after meeting with the family, he turned to me and said that he had to leave and asked me to cover the service for the rest of the afternoon. I was aghast and thought that he was abandoning the other patients. Now 45 years later, I understand why he did what he did.”
You can read the entire article on JAMA’s website by clicking on the article image above.
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